It’s week 17, and if every team isn’t obliged to play hard then I’m not obliged to write about every game. Still, enjoy…
• I’m not even angry about it. I mean, at this point what was left to play for? After the Pats won and the Jags put a disappointing end to their disappointing season, everyone knew the playoffs were gone. So, while I wanted the Jets to carry a little momentum into the offseason, I can’t say I wasn’t happy for Handsome Chad, who finally got the opportunity to gain success for his team, success for himself, and the revenge that had been due to him all year in one fell swoop. Watching him demolish Brett Favre was strangely cathartic after this season, and led to the single most poetic moment of the year. I’m not even talking about Handsome Chad crushing the spirits of the fans who tried so hard to crush his own; I’m talking about us running a Brad Smith trick play as our last offensive play of the game. Seriously, for anyone who has watched the Jets this year, could there possibly be a more fitting end to this season? The final play of the year, the last effort to salvage the dignity of this squad, and the lasting memory this team will give us as we define it this offseason, and we line up Brad “Hey, did you know he was a quarterback in college?” Smith up under center. It’s like Mangini has been reading my nightmare journal and like messing with me.
• KSK has a great gallery of Sulkface Cutler. Enjoy.
• On that note, I’m crowning the Chargers my “Scariest team in the playoffs.” I honestly have no idea what we’re going to get with these guys, and that’s kind of cool. On the one hand, you have the second worst pass defense in the league facing the Colts and the 5th best pass attack in the league. On the other hand, the Chargers have the best statistical quarterback in the league, and their record belies the fact that they’ve played very good, very close games against fellow playoff teams, including their upcoming opponents. If they can finagle their home team advantage (perhaps the postseason’s biggest injustice) into a first round victory, is there a team in the AFC that they don’t match up well against? You betting on that offense being remotely easy to contain? We’ll have more on them this week, but just keep it in mind.
• After looking at what Michael Turner has done for the Falcons (208 yards and a TD last Sunday), don’t the Chargers have to sign Darrel Sproles to some sort of contract?
• By the same token, can the Rams afford NOT to release Marc Bulger? I’m pretty sure that he gets paid the owner’s first born next season once you factor in escalator clauses.
• How the hell does Buffalo facing a division rival at home, in weather that is TAILOR MADE for home team advantage, proceed to put up 0 points? You have to assume something has gone very wrong when God himself has set you up for the season ending win and you drop a goose egg. Call me an alarmist, but I have the sinking suspicion that Dick Jauron might not be a very good coach.
• Ok, so…Brady or Cassel? I love Matt Cassel too, but you have to wonder whether or not this team has such good personnel that just about anyone could have succeeded like he did this year, and whether the man for whom the system was designed couldn’t have gained even more success. Still, the knee surgery that Brady is coming back from isn’t one that lends itself to successful returns. I refuse to pick, because as Pats QBs, I hope a meteor destroys Foxborough and both of them with it.
• There’s really nothing to say about the Chiefs/Bengals game other than that for Cedric Benson to go from, well, being Cedric Benson to potentially getting a franchise tag for next season is insane, and probably more indicative of how bad the Bengals are than how much Benson has improved. Once he sobers up and figures out that life has taken him to Cincy, I fully expect the attitude problems to return.
• If/When the Vikings win a shootout against a good offensive Philly squad, and then get a second crack at a Giants team that is starting to show cracks, I want you to go back and read THIS post and tell me that Action Jackson wasn’t the man for this team all along. Oh, and in case you were wondering…
Gus Frerotte: 7.17 YPA, 12 TD, 15 INT, 73.7 Rating
Tarvaris Jackson: 7.09 YPA, 9 TD, 2 INT, 95.4 Rating
Seriously, you’ve got to have at least SOME patience, Vikings fans.
• On a related note, it’s hard for me to comprehend why having David Carr take garbage time snaps makes more sense than letting Andre Woodson get some valuable game time experience. More evidence for why the Giants drafting Woodson will eventually lead to one of the biggest wastes of talent since the Flacco/Smith incident in Baltimore (NEVER FORGET!)
• The fact is that it’s still very early to be pronouncing the Cardinals dead, particularly considering they may not face a cold weather playoff opponent until the NFC Championship. All things considered, if these guys can find any sort of a rhythm next week, is it that hard to imagine Kurt, Anquan, and Fitzy teaming up to unleash hell on the Panthers or Giants, winning shootouts and dragging their limp bodies into the big show?
• Nah, actually, Warner is going all Benjamin Button on us and reverting to the fumbles of last season. Forget I said anything.
• Also, it’s time for Seneca Wallace to get a crack at a starting gig next season. Between him and Troy Smith, the NAACP is going to have grounds for a class action suit if the NFL can’t find some new spots for its most talented black QBs. I need the next generation of Jay Cutlers (read: BORING HONKIES) like I need a hole in the head.
• Drew Brees didn’t deserve that passing yardage record, at least not this year. Furthermore, I can’t imagine that he would have felt very proud putting it up in an 8-8 season. With the kind of talent that is developing around him (Bush is fast becoming the offensive enigma we hoped he’d be, and there are still receivers developing in an already high power offense), Brees will have another crack at Marino’s record, but next time he’ll do it as a winner.
• My brother, who is a Browns fan, was watching Braylon Edwards’s 5 Hour Energy Drink commercial, and when Braylon goes up to catch the pass at the start of the clip, he said “wow, I didn’t think they’d have money for CGI effects in this commercial.” Seriously, wasn’t this guy a lock to be a Pro Bowl fixture last year? Mission accomplished, Browns!
• Ok, so this may be crazy, but has Tom Cable maybe, JUST maybe, earned enough cred to have the Raiders head coaching gig for one more season? Considering how terrible this team has been, 4 wins (all against good opposition, I might add) is no small feat, and Jamarcus Russell, on whose shoulders any hopes for the team have to rest, has shown a lot of progress over the course of the year. Throw in a rush attack that could be one of the league’s most dangerous next year, and you have to imagine this team has gotten better under his watch than it would have been otherwise.
• I like Tony Romo. I really do. He strikes me as a nice guy who hasn’t let the status of being a star NFL QB change his sense of right and wrong, which is a cool thing in any profession, let alone one with this much fame. Still, I might have to let go of him being a QB that I watch intently every season for the simple fact that it’s becoming too heartbreaking to watch his soul crushed every December. Also, is it me, or are teams testing him physically every game now? It’s the new Jordan rules: If you can hit Tony Romo without getting a penalty, do it, and let’s see if it doesn’t come back to pay dividends late in the game.
• Meanwhile, does anyone else think that McNabb looks like a man possessed since the benching in Baltimore? 9 TDs and 1 INT since riding the pine, and he’s taken a team everyone left for dead to the Playoffs, where it’s impossible to ever discount a team with their talent and penchant for attacking vertically as quickly as possible.
• You know, all I wanted to do was make fun of the worst team of all time, and then THIS press conference happens…
Seriously, he strikes me as a nice guy, and I hope he finds a def coordinator position next year. Hell, I’d love for him to wind up on the Jets.
• But because we can’t NOT poke fun: BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Honestly, how does a team with the single most talented receiver in football (and make no mistake, that’s what Megatron is) have the 6th worst pass offense in football? If you’re a Detroit Lions fan, can you possibly ever put on Lions paraphernalia again knowing that the only people who will think it’s remotely cool are the douchebag hipsters in Brooklyn who think that “defeat is the most ironic form of victory”? The only guy I feel good about is Jon Kitna, but that’s because all the concussions mean he won’t remember any of this a year from now.
• Also, on a final note, I’m typing this as I learn about Mangini’s firing. Let me just say that whether or not the Favre decision was his call, he deserves to lose his job. I’ve never seen a more gutless coach in all my time watching football, routinely punting away 4th and shorts and kicking field goals from 2 yards out of the end zone. Good riddance, you fat, Mangina-ed bastard.
That's all for now, but expect playoff coverage and discussion every day this week, as we finish off a second season of TiT that was as weird and oddly disappointing as this NFL season was. Yay!